Fighter

Albatros DIII

Manufacturer: Albatros Werke & Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke / Germany / 1917
Number Built: 1346

2.5$
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Specifications
Engine 6-cyl. inline Mercedes D. IIIa
Power (h.p.): 180
Height (mm): 2900
Length (mm): 7330
Wing span (mm): 9000
Wing surface (sq.m.): 20.54
Empty weight (kg): 660
Takeoff weight (kg): 885
Fuel capacity (l): 110
Oil capacity (l): 8
Climb rate
1000 m — 3 min. 57 sec.
2000 m — 8 min. 14 sec.
3000 m — 13 min. 37 sec.
4000 m — 20 min. 52 sec.
5000 m — 32 min. 13 sec.
Maximum airspeed
(IAS: km/h)
sea level — 170
1000 m — 163
2000 m — 155
3000 m — 146
4000 m — 137
5000 m — 126
Service ceiling (m) 5800
Endurance
(h.,min.) at 1000m
combat — 1 h. 30 min.
cruise — 3 h. 10 min.
Armament 2xLMG 08/15 Spandau 7.92mm, 500 rounds per barrel

Having investigated the construction of Nieuport fighter, German engineers designed lower wing of their new plane narrower and shorter than the upper one. Wing tips became swept, that helped to avoid wings vibration. Among other remarkable design solutions the following can be mentioned: aileron control rods were drawn through the lower wing, radiator was displaced from the fuselage side to the middle of the upper wing, and wings were supported by V-shaped struts. Weight reduction was one of the main tasks for that time.

The plane was manufactured in Albatros Werke and Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke factories. In total 1346 copies of Albatros D.III were built.

Test flights began in August – September of 1916, and in December 1916 the plane was delivered to fighter squadrons. Several months of combat flights revealed that plane loses its lower wing in a steep dive or in a sharp turn. Water from radiator, placed on the upper wing, poured out onto the machineguns making firing impossible. After this, radiator was placed to the right side of the pilot. Since June 1917 engineers started using new Daimler’s cellular radiator that helped to solve problem with engine overheating.

High production volume of Albatros D.III resulted in numerical superiority of German aviation in April 1917.

Albatros D. III was used for destroying enemy balloons and airplanes. It was also commonly on duty when escorting bombers and scout planes. Pilots mentioned excellent view from the cockpit, good controllability, high speed and climb rate. After new Mercedes D. IIIa engine was mounted, flight characteristics were improved, that allowed this plane to be on duty till Autumn 1918. The fighter took part in battles in the West and the Palestinian front.

Known Aces
Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen
Ernst Udet
Oswald Boelcke
Werner Voss
Erich Löwenhardt
Kurt Wolff
Karl Emil Schäfer
References:
  1. Albatros D.III, Windsock Datafile Special.
  2. Profile Publications, The Albatros D III . Number.
  3. Albatros D.III, Windsock Datafile 1.
  4. Albatros Aces of World War I by Norman Franks, Osprey №32.
  5. Albatros fighters in action by John F Connors.
  6. Albatros fighters, Windsock Datafile Special.



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